Kenya’s SunCulture, a provider of solar power systems, water pumps, and irrigation systems for smallholder farmers, has raised $14 million to accelerate direct sales in Kenya, continue to expand internationally, and fund existing product improvements and new product innovation.
The Series A round was led by Energy Access Ventures (EAV) with the participation of Électricité de France (EDF), Acumen Capital Partners (ACP), and Dream Project Incubators (DPI).
According to Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture’s CEO and Co-Founder, “Now more than ever, scaling access to clean energy and water is critical for food security, smallholder farmer livelihoods, and climate resilience. This is essential to the wellbeing of rural households, as well as farmers’ ability to support themselves in uncertain times. This equity raise puts us in a position to dramatically accelerate our growth and international expansion. We’re thrilled to work with this phenomenal coalition of investors, who have a deep understanding of our business and share our commitment to reaching underserved communities.”
SunCulture provides smallholder farmers with Pay-As-You-Grow (PAYG) financing and value-add services and has commercialized solar-powered irrigation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Togo, and Cote D’Ivoire where almost 80% of families depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, but only 4% use irrigation.
Instead of relying on unpredictable rainfall, SunCulture provides solar-powered irrigation systems as well as affordable source of energy to increase their agricultural productivity while accessing a steady supply of water and clean energy for household use.
Founded in 2013 by Samir Ibrahim and Charlie Nichols, SunCulture launched RainMaker, in 2017 targeting smallholder farms across Africa.
RainMaker lifts up to 7,000 liters of water per day from wells up to 100 meters deep and can irrigate a one-acre farm and support livestock and household water needs such as drinking, cleaning and cooking. Rainmaker pumps use a portable 120-watt solar panel and battery bank.
According to Samir Ibrahim, CEO and co-founder of SunCulture, “Most smallholder farmers in Africa are only one bad harvesting season away from financial ruin. Solar-powered irrigation offers farmers an affordable alternative to the cost of diesel and electric irrigation technology, enabling them to substantially reduce energy costs and boost agricultural output.”
With this investment, SunCulture aims to help farmers grow their incomes 5-10x through increasing yields, growing higher-value cash crops, cultivating more of their land, and raising more livestock.